You & Yours: Prostate Cancer Diaries  permalink

Your questions answered

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Messages: 1 - 45 of 45
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by The You and Yours Team (U10649963) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Between 1300 and 1400 today Martin Ledwick, head of Cancer Research UK's information nurses will be joining this board. He will join the discussion and try and answer some of your questions.

    You don’t have to wait until1300 though, you can post your questions now.

    Martin has been a cancer nurse since 1987 and has managed the Cancer Research UK patient information helpline since 2005. He will be assisted by Lucy Manship who has been in cancer nursing since 1994 and has worked for Cancer Research UK's information helpline since 2005.

    They won’t be able to provide medical advice but will answer your queries when they can. The information provided by them is not a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. If you have, or suspect you may have, a health problem you should consult your doctor.

  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by pokwupokwu (U14027441) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Hi I have BHP but without raised PSA. I have been checked out and do not have cancer. Is there any greater risk of getting cancer because I have BHP than otherwise?

    Report message2

  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Elisabeth56 (U14027446) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Re You and Yours Prostate Cancer - can I just say how good it is to hear the counselling and alternatives offered to removal of the prostate. My husband had this cancer in 2001 and had his prostate removed: he has been impotent ever since, and to cope with that and his recovery from a cancer has made unbelieveable strains on our marriage. At the time he was 53 and we had been married for 2 years!

    Report message3

  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by pokwupokwu (U14027441) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Hi I have BHP but without raised PSA. I have been checked out and do not have cancer. Is there any greater risk of getting cancer because I have BHP than otherwise would be the case?

    Report message4

  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by MLedwickCR-UK (U14027083) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    As far as we know BHP doesn't increase the risk of getting prostate cancer. There is alink below to the information we have on our website about known risk factors. I hope that is helpful.

    Report message5

  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by firthofith (U14027450) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    This was a very compelling article. The simptoms describing the detection of protrate cancer, you could imagine most men would suffer from. But at what point should you seek medical advise?
    I am 46 and have noticed difficulty in passing urine, but have not consulted my doctor as i didn't consider it a very big problem. However since listening to the article I am considering doing so. But the PSV? test sounded very inconclusive, and would probably, as you mentioned, worry me unnecessarly?

    Report message6

  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by markllan (U14027452) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    My father died at the age of 72 last year with prostate cancer. I don't want to go through the pain and suffering he went through, if I can avoid it. I am 46. How old should you be when you start PSA testing? Is pain in the pelvis region a symptom? Thank you for bringing this subject to the fore. I understand that all men will develop prostate cancer. It's important to us all NOT to be ignorant.

    Report message7

  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by MLedwickCR-UK (U14027083) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Hi Elizabeth56
    I was sorry to read about what had happened to you and your husband. If it is any help to read about these issues we have some information on our website about sexuality and prostate cancer at the following link;

    The Prostate Cancer Charity also have good information about this too.

    It is so important that men have the information they need about what side effects they can expect from treatment, so that they can make a fully informed decision about it.

    Some people find counselling and support really helpful. I hope you are able to access this if you think it would be helpful for you both.

    Report message8

  • Message 9

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by LManshipCRUK (U14027070) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Hi Firthofith,

    If you have noticed some new symptoms, it probably is worth discussing these with your GP, although prostate cancer isn't very common in men under 50 years. You can read more about the symptoms to look out for at the link below:

    Your GP can discuss the pros and cons of you having a PSA test at the moment, and help you come to a decision which is right for you.

    Report message9

  • Message 10

    , in reply to message 7.

    Posted by MLedwickCR-UK (U14027083) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    I was very sorry to read about what happened to your father and I can appreciate how concerned you must be. There isn't any clear research evidence about when to start having PSA tests, but it is something you could discuss with your GP. There is information about risk factors for prostate cancer and the PSA test at the following links to our website, I hope they are helpful;

    The PSA test

    Screening for prostate Cancer

    Risk factors

    Report message10

  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Peter_Gonad (U14027469) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Good day.
    About 18 months ago I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I was fortunate to get someone else's cancelled appointment for surgery within three days of diagnosis. The cancer was scooped out successfully and without injury eg the bladder wall was not apparently penetrated either by the cancer or the surgeon. I have now moved onto six-monthly checkups and feel very fit. I am 66 years and my PSA figure is very low.
    However, some months ago I observed dark red wine coloured semen. This seemed very gruesome to me and not at all a good sign. However, the same (bladder) consultant surgeon said he was not 'bothered' about this situation. The GP also said I should take my lead from the consultant's view and he the GP had never known anything serious arising from such signs. Nevertheless I feel rather jittery about the situation.
    Would you kindly comment?
    (Writing from Scotland)

    Report message11

  • Message 12

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by grum1 (U14027472) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    I know its a drag but it is important to get medical advice asap. Don't worry about the possible problems-it may well be nothing and even so it is best to deal with it asap if so.
    genius sailing graham ( I have had trouble and treatment )

    you and yours

    Report message12

  • Message 13

    , in reply to message 11.

    Posted by amgroupie (U2356676) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    hello. my father is off to hospital today to begin 7 weeks of radiation treatment. He's 77 and in excellent health - no symptoms at all. His PSA test result was very high, and that got the ball rolling - his tumour is aggressive but at the very early stages, so the prognosis is very good.
    I have given my mother the Jane Plant book on prostate cancer, and also her first more general one. She is managing project prostate, as my father leaves everything up to her. I have also bought him a bottle of the Australian Bush Flower remedy electro essence which claims to lessen the emotional effects of radiation treatment. He's refusing to take it in case it clashes with anything the doctors have given him! what else should we be doing to lessen the side effects of the treatment? Many thanks for your advice.

    Report message13

  • Message 14

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by pokwupokwu (U14027441) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Thanks, that's good to know. However, the article does raise the spectre of dairy!! I picked up on earlier messageboard traffic on dairy and prostate (and other cancer) problems. Google also produces some hits which seem to confirm the problem (from reasonably reliable sources like the NIH rather than the crackpot or axe-to-grind end of the market)... Is there any recent research that confirms this? (BTW: I drink a lot of milk and eat a lot of yoghurt, which must put me up in the higher diary category)

    Report message14

  • Message 15

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by secraser (U10041721) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Hello. For some years I have had trouble passing water early in the morning and after sitting down for long periods. I've had a PSA test and an ultrasound scan about 4 yrs ago.
    The symptom has worsened recently.

    When we got the results back mt GP said no need to worry but didn't give me any numerical result. (index)
    I'm 61. Maybe I should go back to my GP.
    How often should a PSA test be done?

    Report message15

  • Message 16

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by contemplativeHelen (U14027508) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Hello, my partner has recently been dignosed with prostate cancer and has just started hormone therapy. I am interested in understanding more about the relationship of life style (eg diet, exercise etc.) and prostate cancer.

    BTW. Unfortunately, I didn't hear the show but will listen to the pod case later.

    Report message16

  • Message 17

    , in reply to message 11.

    Posted by LManshipCRUK (U14027070) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Hi Peter,

    It sounds as if you are still worried about this symptom. There's no harm in having another chat with your specialist about it. If they are not worried about it, they should be able to explain why this is.

    Report message17

  • Message 18

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by portfolioman (U2042630) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    I am 56 and am taking 1 Dutasteride 500MCG a day to help reduce the size of my prostate. This became necessary to help decrease the frequency of the need to urinate.

    Is having an enlarged prostate an inevitable precursor to greater problems. I have an annual PSA test, so far the results are within normal values.

    Thank you for your answer.

    Report message18

  • Message 19

    , in reply to message 13.

    Posted by MLedwickCR-UK (U14027083) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Hi amgroupi,
    I was sorry to read about what's happening to your father. I can appreciate you and your mother want to do everything you can for him. Often there isn't a great deal of scientific evidence about some complementary therapies although some people do fund them helpful. Often it comes down to personal preferences and choice.

    It is always sensible to get complemenary therapies checked out with the medical team in case, as your father mentions, they might interact with other treatment that is being given. We have information about complementary therapies on our website at the following link;

    Report message19

  • Message 20

    , in reply to message 14.

    Posted by MLedwickCR-UK (U14027083) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Hi Pokwupokwu,

    There is still a lot that isn't known about the relationship between different foods and cancer. Often there can be many other factors that can play a part. In situations like this, where some evidence suggests that there might be a possible link, many people choose moderation as a good compromise rather than cutting something out all together. Also, the calcium in dairy products may protect against some cancers.

    We have information about diet and prostate cancer at the following link to our website

    There is further information about diet and prostate cancer on the Prostate Cancer Charity website at the link below


    Report message20

  • Message 21

    , in reply to message 15.

    Posted by LManshipCRUK (U14027070) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Hi Secraser,

    If your symptoms have changed or become worse, then you should go back to see your GP. They can decide if you need any further tests.

    How often you have a PSA test will depend on your situation. You can read about PSA testing at the links below

    Report message21

  • Message 22

    , in reply to message 18.

    Posted by MLedwickCR-UK (U14027083) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009


    Having an enlarged prostate does not necessarily increase your chances of developing prostate cancer. We have information about risk factors at the following link to our website;

    Report message22

  • Message 23

    , in reply to message 16.

    Posted by LManshipCRUK (U14027070) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Hi ContemplativeHelen,

    I'm sorry to read about your partner's situation.

    The Prostate Cancer Charity have a section of information about lifestyle and prostate cancer. This includes information about diet. You can view this on their website at the link below;


    Report message23

  • Message 24

    , in reply to message 10.

    Posted by Hephaistos (U13806674) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    At the age of 71y a PSA test made after I mentioned to my GP some very minor difference in urinary performance compared to youthful performance came in at 21.4. A biopsy gave signs of cancer or pre-cancer in 11 out of 14 needle shots. An MRI test then revealed bladder cancer. Effectively neither condition had shown any physical symptoms and I was feeling so fit and well I was unconcerned. I believe that my experience is not at all unusual. Both conditions it seems can be effectively symptomless until well advanced.
    If we had a national policy of regular PSA testing from the age of 45 years prostate cancers would be detected at an earlier stage when there are more options on treatment and less chance of secondary cancers having developed.
    The medical profession appears to be very divided on whether there should be such a programme so it becomes a gamble when you rely on any one GP's opinion.

    Report message24

  • Message 25

    , in reply to message 17.

    Posted by Peter_Gonad (U14027469) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Hi Lucy.
    Thanks for your suggestion. When I voiced my concern with the consultant I was in my backless NHS gown, no glasses etc and just about to hop on the bed for my scheduled cancer checkup when I put the unscheduled question (about the dark liquid). The thing is, what is the mechanism for getting a few minutes with the surgeon? I don't like irritating the chap just before he is wielding the intrusive scope. It feels like a rather one-sided situation. Do I have to be referred by my GP or as an ongoing patient can I just ring up the department for an extra appointment
    Thank you.
    'Peter Gonad'

    Report message25

  • Message 26

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by pokwupokwu (U14027441) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    Thanks very much, but... I was reading through the Prostate Cancer Charity article and thinking to myself that it all sounded really good... until I came across the old chestnut about drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. There is no evidence at all that drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water a day has any useful effect ([Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] and it casts doubt on the value and accuracy of the rest of the article when this is repeated... such a shame!

    Report message26

  • Message 27

    , in reply to message 11.

    Posted by CamKCo (U13852308) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009


    I was concerned about blood in ejaculate and my GP was similarly unconcerned.

    He explained it thus: "Considering we are asking the body to effectively "pop a champagne cork" at the instant of ejaculation, then we shouldn't be surprised that sometimes blood vessels burst & blood therefore can be seen".

    But nobody knows exactly why it happened in your case - I have posted here so you can see why another doctor was similarly unconcerned.

    Good luck.

    Report message27

  • Message 28

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by johno65 (U14028382) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    you and yours prostate cancer.
    hello i recently had my cancerous prostate removed via keyhole surgery.
    about a year ago my psa was recorded at 6.85. the specialist did a physical examination and recommended i have one of three treatments.he explained that one side of the enlarged prostate was "rough" (it should be smooth). i asked for another psa test which i had three months later, the result was 5.65. again i was recommended treatment. i then had another psa test which came out at 4.75.a biopsy followed which showed cancer tumour. after much discussion and armed with a mountain of information from people involved at my hospital i elected to have the operation.the cancer was on the very edge of the prostate and there is a possibility the cancer has spread. i await a further psa test in august.

    Report message28

  • Message 29

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by peteandlisa (U14028050) on Wednesday, 10th June 2009

    My husband had a radical prostectomy in 2006, we had also been married 2 years and only known each other 3 years. He was 60 and I was 50. We received no support, and yes, it did cause problems initially but at the risk of being totally mushy we were very much in love and relieved that he survived.

    Report message29

  • Message 30

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by liam_oscar (U14029865) on Thursday, 11th June 2009

    I am worried about my present diet as a result of the BBCR4 broadcasts I have recently heard.

    I am 41 but consider myself fit & healthy. I play 2hours of football & swim 1 mile once per week and keep active by doing lots in the house & in the garden.

    I don't smoke or drink much alcohol but I do have a weakness for dairy products as I drink approx 1-2 pints of semi skimmed milk per day & have a fair amount of cheese. I could cut down on the cheese but really do love my milk a little too much. My wife drink soya milk but it isn't for me. I have had this weakness for dairy products throughout my life.

    Should I be doing something about it? I am worried that I may have to cut these out as they are my only 'luxuries' in life.


    Report message30

  • Message 31

    , in reply to message 25.

    Posted by LManshipCRUK (U14027070) on Thursday, 11th June 2009

    Hi Peter_Gonad,

    There are a couple of options. As I assume you are already under a urologist (bladder specialist), you could contact the urologist's secretary and see if they can make you a clinic appointment.

    Or you can discuss this with your GP again. And they may be able to sort out the appointment for you.

    Best wishes


    Report message31

  • Message 32

    , in reply to message 30.

    Posted by LManshipCRUK (U14027070) on Thursday, 11th June 2009

    Hi Liam_Oscar,

    Research is ongoing about the relationship between different foods and cancer. So in situations like this, where there is some evidence suggesting a link, many people choose moderation rather than completetly cutting something out of their diet. And it is also important to bear in mind that the calcium in dairy products may protect against some cancers.

    We have information about diet and prostate cancer on our website, at the first link below. And the Prostate Cancer Charity also have information at the second link:


    Report message32

  • Message 33

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by sandy_point (U14032180) on Friday, 12th June 2009

    How significant is the fact that my PSA reading has increased from 3.9 to 6.9 in the last 18 months, please? I am 62. I had a biopsy a couple of years ago when my PSA reached 4, on advice from my doctor that because my father had prosate cancer there was ahigher risk to me. Should I have another biopsy/ What are the risks of this, please?

    Report message33

  • Message 34

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Epictetusfan (U14032184) on Friday, 12th June 2009

    I am 70. My father died at 102. My Gleason score is 3+3 in 2 cores. PSA 5 years ago was 4.0 rose to 7.2 in 2008 now down to 5.0. Prostate volume is 78 mL. No unmanageable urine problems. Good sex life. I take Saw Palmetto and a mediterranean diet with no red meat or dairy plus relaxation and exercise not to mention having fun! I really dont want to have treatment except as a last resort and I want good proof that it is necessary. Three questions.

    What is the recommended dose/type/manufacturer of Saw palmetto?
    What other drugs should I consider?
    What Gleason score/PSA/or what should make me need treatment?

    Report message34

  • Message 35

    , in reply to message 34.

    Posted by cerberusjf (U10055433) on Friday, 12th June 2009

    Hi I was wondering what the PSA actually tells you? If Geoff Tansey's PSA has fallen, after going on the dairy/sugar reduced diet, did that mean the cancer's activity reduced? If so, could people who are on a reduced dairy/sugar diet give a misleadingly low PSA test? And why, if I remember correctly, was Geof given contradictory advice after his PSA reduced?

    Finally, why is there no routine monitoring of PSA levels? I have had my prostate checked digitally fairly regularly, more so now that I have prostatitis, but have read that this can miss cancers at the front of the gland. There has been routine testing for cervical and breast cancer for many years now.

    Report message35

  • Message 36

    , in reply to message 35.

    Posted by Hephaistos (U13806674) on Friday, 12th June 2009

    It is disappointing that this 'You and Yours' series of talks and the subsequent discussions have not lead to any debate on the 'For' and 'Against' arguments for a national PSA screening programme.
    A number of respondents, including myself, have suggested there should be such a programme.

    Somewhere along the way, in my search for information that was triggered by discovering I had prostate cancer I recall that :-

    1.Not every man who has a high PSA reading has prostate cancer.
    2.Some men who have a low or normal PSA reading turn out to have prostate cancer.
    3. Despite its limitations in detecting men with prostate cancer the PSA test is a good test for monitoring the condition after treatment.

    Annual monitoring of PSA levels has long been the recommended practice in the USA and as a result their survival rates are, I believe, better than in the UK where regular testing has not been the recommended practice.

    I also believe that those who enjoy private annual health checks do have their PSA level checked and hence their prostate cancers are often, if not invariably, detected earlier. That gives them a better chance of opting for surgery rather than radiotherapy.
    However if every man's surgery takes the 5 hours mentioned in the talks I wonder if the NHS could cope with more earlier diagnoses.

    It is long passed the time when the medical profession should have brought the subject of testing for prostate cancer out into the public domain.

    Report message36

  • Message 37

    , in reply to message 1.

    This posting has been hidden during moderation because it broke the House Rules in some way.

  • Message 38

    , in reply to message 36.

    Posted by PeaandAr (U14030230) on Friday, 12th June 2009

    Hi, To have a further radio cover on PSA screening and its pros and cons would be so benificial in bringing a complex subject more into the public domain. This is the second most common cancer in men, Lung being first, so if the stops smoking campain works, could be be top of the ladder in the near further. This cancer is akin to breast cancer in women, with the same worries, emotional, relationalship and long term life expectancy

    This is a complex subject and needs airing on a regular basis for pressure to be exerted for large scale research and for people to be aware of information prior to a need to know basis.

    Seeking infomation at the time of diognosise, puts unnecessary stain on the paitient and close family making the learning curve much steeper than it need be. My husband and I had to research in order to know what questions to ask. With only one week to make a decision on which treatment option of three to go for. The discussion with the urogogist was about an hour long explaing the different options, no real chance to take in and digest, some hard copy would have been very useful. So how about it You and Yours

    Report message38

  • Message 39

    , in reply to message 38.

    Posted by cerberusjf (U10055433) on Saturday, 13th June 2009

    I agree completely about getting a hard copy of information when given a diagnosis so that you are not faced with remembering everything the doctor said at the discussion. I think that this should be standard practice for all conditions, especially when it is as complex and life-changing as prostate cancer.

    I think doctors and the medical profession as a whole do not seem to understand that giving you a lot of verbal information when you are in a state of shock is maybe not the best method of giving information to the patient. I feel very sorry for people whose difficult position has been made unnecessarily more stressful in this way.

    When doctors give you a drug like an antibiotic, they don't just tell you all the possible side effects and expect you to remember everything, you get a leaflet with the drugs that explains everything. Why can't it be the same for treatment options when the effects can be more life changing and the results of that decision could be with you for the rest of yout life? It can be hard to remember everything at the best of times, let alone when you are very stressed.

    Report message39

  • Message 40

    , in reply to message 39.

    Posted by Jeremyb2 (U14027456) on Saturday, 13th June 2009

    Reading the numerous and interesting messages relating to the You & Yours prostate cancer programme, it appears that there is considerable variation in the degree and type of support for patients in different parts of the country.

    I have been attending the Solent Department of Urology in Portsmouth, and following the meeting with my consultant when I was told that I have prostate cancer, I was provided with extensive documentation about different types of treatment and support that is available. There are also two Clinical Nurse Specialists who are experienced in all aspects of urology but in particular with patients who have urological cancer. They act as 'key workers' and will offer support, guidance and information.

    I take a pad and pencil into meetings with me, and make notes. If in doubt about something, I will ask the consultant to repeat what he has said. I haven't actually done it, but I doubt that most consultants would mind someone taking a small recorder into a meeting.

    Report message40

  • Message 41

    , in reply to message 15.

    Posted by bilbro1239 (U13985801) on Monday, 15th June 2009

    Difficulty passing water may be due to the prostate growing, so to speak, as you get older. This should not be confused with cancerous growth. I had what the specialist described as a mini-TURP, a "rebore", and this cured the watering problem. I went into hospital around mid-afternoon on one day and left around midday on the next day. Some slight discomfort for about 24 hours, but that was all. What a relief, you might say!

    Report message41

  • Message 42

    , in reply to message 7.

    Posted by 1111self (U14034225) on Monday, 15th June 2009

    My husband died of prostate cancer at 47. He was diagnosed at 45. If you have any pain anywhere, please will you go to your gp and ask for a psa. As people have said, it is not foolproof, but the problem my husband had was that he was so young that even when he went to the gp with pain, they did not associate it with P.C. so never thought of testing him.
    He had always been fit up until diagnosis.

    Report message42

  • Message 43

    , in reply to message 27.

    Posted by Peter_Gonad (U14027469) on Thursday, 18th June 2009

    Thanks very much for your help.

    Report message43

  • Message 44

    , in reply to message 31.

    Posted by Peter_Gonad (U14027469) on Thursday, 18th June 2009

    Hi Lucy
    (Sorry for delay. My wife and I have been away on 'Ancestry' searches)

    Yes, I'm under the urologist - three actually. It's never the same person when I go for check-ups. But I have great confidence in each.

    Thank you for identifying approaches for me to take this matter further. I shall take steps, perhaps via the dept secretary.

    Kind regards,

    Report message44

  • Message 45

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by frankthedoc (U14026953) on Friday, 19th June 2009

    Having benign prostate hyperplasia, which probably half of men over 50 years have, does not raise your risk of prostate cancer

    Report message45

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